By Danny Halpin via SWNS
A new superfast charging method for electric cars can power them up in just 10 minutes, according to a new study.
One of the reasons drivers feel reluctant to switch from petrol and diesel is because electric cars take so much longer to power up.
Speeding up the charge can damage the battery and reduce its lifespan but now researchers say they have found a way around this problem.
Dr. Eric Dufek, of the Idaho National Laboratory, said: “Fast charging is the key to increasing consumer confidence and overall adoption of electric vehicles.
“It would allow vehicle charging to be very similar to filling up at the gas station.”
If made widely available, it could help the UK Government achieve its target of ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
Charging the lithium-ion batteries that fuel electric vehicles is a delicate balancing act. Ideally, drivers want to power up as quickly as possible to get back on the road, but with current technology, speeding up the process can cause damage.
When a lithium-ion battery is being charged, lithium ions migrate from one side of the device, the cathode, to the other, the anode.
By making the lithium ions migrate faster, the battery is charged more quickly, but sometimes the lithium ions don’t fully move into the anode.
In this situation, lithium metal can build up, and this can trigger early battery failure. It can also cause the cathode to wear and crack.
All of these issues reduce the lifetime of the battery and the effective range of the vehicle.
Speeding up the charge while avoiding the damage requires a huge amount of data on how it affects devices’ lifetimes, efficiencies and safety.
It is also important to take into account the design and condition of batteries, as well as how the charging method would fit into the electric grid infrastructure.
Dr. Dufek and colleagues sought to address this by using machine learning techniques that analyze charging data to create unique charging methods.
By inputting information about the condition of many lithium-ion batteries during their charging and discharging cycles, the scientists trained the machine learning analysis to predict lifetimes and the ways that different designs would eventually fail.
The team then fed that data back into the analysis to identify and optimize new methods that they then tested on real batteries.
Dr. Dufek added: “We’ve significantly increased the amount of energy that can go into a battery cell in a short amount of time.
“Currently, we’re seeing batteries charge to over 90 percent in 10 minutes without lithium plating or cathode cracking.”
The development is a large advance on current methods, the best of which can fully charge an electric vehicle in about 30 minutes.
While many researchers are looking for methods to achieve super-fast charging, Dr. Dufek said that one advantage of their machine learning model is that it ties the charging methods to the physics of what is actually happening in a battery.
Now, the researchers plan to use their model to develop better methods and to help design new lithium-ion batteries that are designed for fast charging.
The ultimate goal, they say, is for electric vehicles to be able to tell charging stations how to power up their specific batteries quickly and safely.
Dr. Dufek presented the findings at a meeting of the American Chemical Society,
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